Alright! The first two books that I have successfully finish reading are “Ulu Yam di Liverpool” 1 & 2; courtesy of my colleague in SK Serendah, Kak Faridah Sukaimin (I just found out that we are actually the same age but since I was already accustomed of calling her “Kak” prior to this, it became awkward to shift the tagging. But I will try, though!). She thought that I will find these books inspiring as I have been very vocal in expressing my ambition to fly out from the school cocoon.
The first book.
Initially I have to say that I was a bit skeptical with these books. The casual writing approach is not my cup of tea. I am quite a ‘schematic’ person who prefers structured wordings, etc. Reading a jumbled-out memoir between Malay & English was somewhat suffocating for me. BUT of course you know what people said – “first impression is not always correct”. As time goes by, I came to enjoy the books and I understand now why Mr. Nazali chose this kind of writing approach – it is layback and it feels as if he was writing straight from his heart by candidly expressing what he was thinking at that very moment when he was jotting down the emotions or experiences he was dealing with. It also make readers feel connected to him as most people dislike reading structured and ‘schematic’ words (that’s why blogs flourish!). So, kudos to him!
The 2nd book.
I found out that some topics were repetitive and bit of cliche but overall, I can feel his heart and what he was trying to communicate to his readers. I like the idea of still retaining his identity as a Malay Moslem and a ‘kampung boy’ which I myself feel related to. I always consider myself as someone with strong Malay Moslem identity and to read this from the point of view of someone who has taken the liberty to defy the odds make me so inspired. I love when he wrote about his life in Ulu Yam & Batang Kali as these places are familiar sights for me. I have been teaching in SK Serendah for almost 6 years now and I bought a house in Tamu Hill Batang Kali; so I am familiar with the Sungai Tua-Batang Kali route of which Mr. Nazali and his wife had their motorcycle punctured and how they had to hitchhike a lorry or some sort while Miss Ain, his wife was pregnant!
The writer, Mr. Nazali.
Apart from that, I also feel related when he said that he hates Maths and he had the experience of working in the bank but then decided to opt for teaching. Before I became a teacher in 2010, I was working in AFFIN Islamic as a corporate banker for only 15 months but I felt that I was a misfit as I didn’t like business or numbers. So I applied KPLI and resort to be a primary school teacher. But now after completing my Master’s Degree in Corporate Communication (which I believe is my forte!), I am itchy to emancipate myself out from the school cocoon and I wanna pursue PhD and become a lecturer in Communication academic field. So, I have to say that Mr. Nazali’s memoir has somehow motivates me that nothing is impossible.
The place where he works as well as pursuing PhD. I never heard about this university before I read this (perhaps due to my limited knowledge! lol!). So, I guess his books are assets as they expose the name of the university to a wider spectrum of possible market in Malaysia!
I also feel sorry when he wrote about how the Malaysian society in Liverpool boycotted him and Miss Ain, his wife. As the matter of fact, my sister did pursue her Master’s Degree at Leeds from September 2014-September 2015 and she had her own opinion about Mr. Nazali (I guess based on the Malaysian community hearsay and all but yeah, everyone is entitled to his/her opinions, no?). It is also sad to hear when someone that they trusted backstabbed them (the Ustaz Zul with the Malaysian CRV & Malaysian business partner) but then again, those colours of life are what makes them stronger, no? As a reader, I also get inspired by these life episodes. My heart also goes to Miss Ain who is very adamant and determine to help Mr. Nazali by selling “Nasi Lemak” and that somehow resulted to the miscarriage episode. I feel connected to her as I am also a Northern Malay, hails from Penang and Kedah! Hahaha! You know, we take pride of our Malay accent whenever we bump into our Northern comrades, y’all! Haha!
Mr. Nazali & Miss Ain. What started as casual friend blossomed into a marriage!
On top of that, of course the gist of the story is about the love to the parents. I feel twinge of melancholy when he mentioned about the nostalgia he had with his father and mother. My father also was a retired policeman and very dedicated father despite his meager financial so I feel related to Mr. Nazali when he wrote that chapter.
Of course some of his writings were bit stinging especially about our local facilities and litigation in comparison the ones in United Kingdom but then he is entitled to his opinions. What matters for me is that he flies out from his comfort zones and leaving the cocoon. And I would like to emulate that strength. Amin.
On whole, I would like to thank Kak Faridah for lending me these books as she knows I love books and I am inspired to fly away. I also would like to congratulate Mr. Nazali for his inspiring writing especially when he relates about his experiences as an academician in Liverpool John Moores University and his affiliation with colleagues and students. I am inspired. Who knows if ALLAH SWT grants my wish to study abroad, and I have the opportunity to study my PhD in UK and meet Mr. Nazali & Miss Ain? Insya ALLAH. Nothing is possible. Amin, God bless!